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India Information


India is the largest country in the Indian Subcontinent and shares borders with Pakistan to the west, China and Nepal to the north, Bhutan to the north-east, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia lie to the south-east in the Indian Ocean. It is the seventh largest country in the world by area and, with over a billion people, is second only to China in population. It's an extremely diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate, culture, language and ethnicity across its expanse, and prides itself on being the largest democracy on Earth.

India mixes ancient civilizations, fascinating religions, 22 official languages and over 200 other languages and dialects, monuments and cultures with modern technology, economy, and media.

Regions


India is administratively divided into 28 states and 7 union territories. The states are broadly demarcated on linguistic lines. They vary in size; the larger ones are bigger and more diverse than some countries of Europe. The union territories are smaller than the states—sometimes they are just one city—and they have much less autonomy.

These states and union territories are grouped by convention into the following regions:

Himalayan North
Mountainous and beautiful, a tourist destination for the adventurous and the spiritual. This region contains some of India's most visited hill-stations and religious places. Also includes the exquisitely scenic states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The Plains
The country's capital New Delhi is here. The river Ganga and Yamuna flows through this plain. Many of the events that shaped India's history took place in this region.
Western India
Miles and miles of the Thar Desert. Home to the the colorful palaces, forts and cities of Rajasthan, the country's most vibrant and biggest city Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), wonderful beaches and pristine forests of Goa and Bollywood (Indian film industry in Bombay).
Southern India
A strong bastion of indigenous culture, South India features famous and historical temples, tropical forests, backwaters in Kerala, beautiful hill stations in Tamil Nadu, beaches and cosmopolitan cities in Pondicherry, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and the wonderful lush island groups of Andaman & Nicobar (on the east) and Lakshadweep on the west.
Eastern India
India's mostly rural region, its largest city is Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), the temple cities of Puri of Lord Jagannath fame and Bhubaneswar are both in Orissa.
North-Eastern India
Remote and sensitive, the country's tribal corner, with beautiful landscapes and famous for Tea Gardens. Consists of eight tiny states (by Indian standards) popularly nicknamed as The Eight Sisters.

Cities


    * Delhi — the capital of India for a thousand years and the heart of Northern India.
    * Bangalore — The garden city, once the sleepy home of pensioners now transformed into the city of pubs, technology and companies.
    * Chennai (formerly Madras) — main port in Southern India, cradle of Carnatic Music and Bharatanatyam, home of the famous Marina beach, Automobile Capital of India and a fast emerging IT hub.
    * Cochin — gateway to the sandy beaches and backwaters of south west India.
    * Jaipur — the Pink City is a major exhibit of the Hindu Rajput culture of medeival Northern India.
    * Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) — the cultural capital of India, Kolkata is home to numerous colonial buildings. It is known as The City of Joy.
    * Mumbai (formerly Bombay) — the financial capital of India, "Bollywood" (Indian Film Industry) hub.
    * Shimla — the former summer capital of British India located in the Himalayan foothills with a large legacy of Victorian architecture.
    * Varanasi — considered the most sacred Hindu city, located on the banks of the Ganges, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities of the world.

Other destinations


India has many outstanding landmarks and areas of outstanding beauty. Below is a list of nine of the most notable:

    * Bodh Gaya — the place where the Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment.
    * Ellora/Ajanta — spectacular rock-cut cave monasteries and temples, holy place for the Buddhists, Jains and Hindus.
    * Goa — an east-west mix, beaches and syncretic culture.
    * Golden Temple — Sikh holy site located in Amritsar
    * Hampi — the awesome ruins of the empire of Vijayanagara
    * Khajuraho — famed for its erotic sculptures
    * Lake Palace — the Lake Palace of Octopussy fame, located in Udaipur
    * Meenakshi Temple — a spectacular Hindhu temple in Madurai
    * Taj Mahal — the incomparable Taj Mahal in Agra

Geography


Mountains, jungles, deserts and beaches, India has it all. It is bounded to the north, northeast and northwest by the snow-capped Himalayas, the tallest mountain range in the world. In addition to protecting the country from invaders, they also fed the perennia
 

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